Drastic Cuts For Iowa State Budget - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Drastic Cuts For Iowa State Budget

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There are massive budget cuts for the state of Iowa, affecting every government agency. Thursday, Governor Culver signed an executive order for 10% cuts. That's a $565 million dollar cut from the state's budget. Culver says the state is not collecting enough in taxes. And Iowa will be short $415-million dollars in tax revenues.

The cuts are leaving many state workers wondering how they'll cut 10%. No one has exact figures on how much they'll have to trim from the budget. But locally it's going to have a huge impact on schools. Take a look at some of the numbers. Bettendorf schools are estimating more than $1.8 million dollars will have to be cut. Pleasant Valley is guessing a $1.6 million dollar shortfall.

Many of these districts don't know how they'll cut back. Pleasant Valley Superintendent Dr. Jim Spelhaug says, "That's a disastrous cut. We have our discussions, have been around contemplating something in the 6-percent ball park."

With the cuts much more than anyone suspected, district officials are heading back to the drawing board. But the solution to the problem isn't an easy one. "You don't have a lot of options during the year," adds Spelhaug.

With salaries around 80% of school budgets, and almost all employees under union contracts, cutting 10-percent means everything else, programs, non-union employees, will be evaluated. According to Spelhaug, "Try to maintain everything we can, but I certainly can't sit here and guaranty that there's not going to be those types of impacts, cause certainly there will be."

The governor wants schools to take money from the reserve fund. But that's not going to cover all their costs, and some districts might have to take out a loan. "If we borrow money to get through this, then we have to have a plan in place to get that back, so that could very much affect next year," says the superintendent.

News of the 10-percent cut also has the court system wondering, how will they make up the money. "People are on pins and needles because no one knows am I going to have a job tomorrow, because it could be as quick as tomorrow," says Julie Carlin, Scott Co. Clerk.

Culver is estimating hundreds of state employees will receive pink slips. At the courts, they're already short staffed, and layoffs or furloughs will create backlog. "The stuff will not get put out in the manner it gets out now. Child support checks, everything will just be delayed," adds Carlin.

If the economy turns around, the governor will ask the legislature to restore some of the funding to children's health care, public safety and jobless benefits.

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